Across the U.S., agriculture contaminates millions of Americans’ drinking water. Points on this map provide locations where agricultural pollution has damaged drinking water. Specifically, the map tracks news stories about water contamination from nitrate, waste from animal feeding operations, pesticides, and disinfection byproducts, from 2010 through today.
Manure, fertilizer and pesticides running off poorly protected farm fields are the major contributors of these pollutants to drinking water. In some locations, agriculture has contaminated drinking water multiple times since 2010. Click on a point to see the community where contamination occurred; which contaminant was found in the water; and the most recent news story headline, with the date and author. Interacting with the points will also show whether the drinking water of the community was contaminated by an agricultural pollutant in previous years.
Polluted drinking water from nitrate, animal waste, pesticides and disinfection byproducts hurt public health. Animal waste can cause vomiting, diarrhea and other painful symptoms because of the bacteria it contains. Nitrate and disinfection byproducts can lead to cancer, and pesticides like atrazine can damage reproductive systems.